Wednesday

1st Apr 2020

Eurozone ministers impatient on Greek bailout review

Greece came under renewed pressure to reach a deal with creditors on the latest round of cuts and economic reforms at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Monday (28 January).

Troika officials representing Greece's creditors began their latest review of the implementation of the country's €240 billion rescue in September.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

But they are still to approve the next tranche of a rescue loan, with offficials indicating that an agreement was unlikely to be reached before the end of February.

The review “is taking too long,” Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister and chairman of the “Eurogroup,” said. “It’s been going on since September-October, and I think it’s in the joint interest of us and the Greek government to finalise it as soon as possible.”

Dijsselbloem also told reporters that any further discussions aimed at tackling an estimated €11 billion shortfall in Greece's finances in 2014 are on hold.

“We’ve made it quite clear that we’re not going to come back to it until there is a final positive conclusion to the review,” he noted.

"We call on Greece and the troika to do the utmost to conclude the negotiations," he added.

The Greek government is not facing an imminent cash-flow crisis, but says it has no political room to implement any more spending cuts.

The Greek government says its economy will emerge from six years of recession in 2014, and record a primary budget surplus of 1.6 percent of GDP in the process.

It also says that a primary surplus should see its creditors reduce the country's debt burden as part of the bailout agreement.

For his part, Greek finance minister Yannis Stournaras said he hoped a deal could be reached next month, paving the way for the release of more financial aid in March. He also suggested that Greece would record a primary surplus for 2013, estimated at €830 million.

Stournaras noted that any fiscal gap for 2015 would be covered with structural reforms, not further austerity measures.

Ministers also discussed the conclusion of Portugal's rescue package, as well as the implications of the wind-down of the US economic stimulus.

The gradual reduction in the US Federal Reserve's multi-billion dollar monthly bond buying programme could lead to a bumpy ride for the global financial system, with emerging countries likely to be the worst affected.

"Of course we are worried about this from the perspective of the emerging countries," Dijsselbloem told reporters. He added: "I am not particularly worried about the risk of contagion. I think the position of the eurozone is different and that we have to maintain our progress."

EU cancels April Fool's 'fake news'

The EU has called for an end to April Fool's media hoaxes to help fight Russian disinformation, but a loophole made the new measures sound like a joke.

Opinion

A coronavirus 'Marshall Plan' alone won't be nearly enough

The 1948-51Marshall Plan provided about €118bn in today's figures in American assistance to European countries. These numbers are dwarfed by prospective needs, and the needs are not just European or American - but global.

News in Brief

  1. Danish conservatives want Orban party kicked out of EPP
  2. Dutch finance minister repents on virus help
  3. France to house domestic violence victims in hotels
  4. Europe sends medical goods to Iran, despite US embargo
  5. Commission sets consultation on raising 2030 climate target
  6. 12-year old Belgian girl dies of coronavirus
  7. EU commission: no 'indefinite' emergency measures
  8. Denmark plans 'gradual' return to normal after Easter

Column

Trying to think straight about coronavirus

Clear-headed thinking becomes nearly impossible under this relentless barrage of bad news and apocalyptic analysis, Ferraris writes - a state of mind he describes as "cogito interruptus".

Coronavirus

EU states urged to share sick patients

EU states should take in sick people from Italy and Spain in a show of solidarity amid foreign propaganda attacks, MEPs have said.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. EU cancels April Fool's 'fake news'
  2. A coronavirus 'Marshall Plan' alone won't be nearly enough
  3. Trying to think straight about coronavirus
  4. Berlin ready to airlift Greek island refugees
  5. Von der Leyen criticises Hungary, but fails to mention it
  6. Air pollution drops in Europe, but how long will last?
  7. Human rights abusers don't stop for virus, MEPs tell EU
  8. EU states urged to share sick patients

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us